My mom is showing signs of what might be dementia. What should I do?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 13, 2016
Neuron11 asked...

I noticed my mom's mood changing and her not being as clean with her animals as she had been before. She doesn't want to go to the Neurologist so I gave her the clock test. I asked her if she could just draw a clock for me and it took forever before she would at least try. I asked her if she could draw a picture of a clock. She only wrote the word clock. I told her just try to draw just a picture and no words but she could not. I asked if she might draw a triangle but only wrote the word Triangle. I hate to think my mom has dementia but it's really scary just letting it go. I want to help her as much as I can but she is very set in her ways. If anyone saw this kind of behavior or could help I'd really appreciate it.

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Community Answers

Francesc answered...

Sorry to hear about what's happening with your mom.
It's important that you don't let this situation go - it can be dangerout financially as well as physically for your mom.

You said she refuses to go to a neurologist; would she go to her regular doctor? Could you perhaps get her doctor to come visit her? I know the doctors that will do that are few and far between these days, but it might be the only way to actually begin to find out what's going on without a huge ordeal in trying to take her to the doctor.

Many times a person with dementia will show aggression and stubborness. My dad was very aggressive before he was actually diagnosed and began taking Aricept. (he had a temper before, but it was nothing like what he became....)

Do you have any siblings that can help you with her? Maybe if you all gently tell her what you suspect you can make some progress in getting the proper care for her.

Another idea might be to call a senior care services organization in your area and talk to them. They might have suggestions about how to get her to agree to go to the doctor or perhaps have senior social services in your area come visit and do an evaluation.

Hugs and prayers for you - this is a really hard situation.

Ca-claire answered...

I would start with a visit to your Mom's primary care provider. Go with her and help explain what is happening. The Dr. may then refer her to a geriatric specialist or a Neurologist. The important thing is to get them started in the process.

I used to make appointments for my parents, and then not tell them until that day that they had an appointment. I would make the appointment around lunchtime, so I could say we're going out to lunch, but running an errand first. The errand would be the Dr.'s office. Sounds silly, but saved on arguments. If the appointment was mid-afternoon, I would take them for a 'frosty' (ice cream softserve), afterwards.

As our parents get older, sometimes we have to do things the way they did when we were young.

Best wishes. It's difficult with pets as well.

Neuron11 answered...

I wanted to add that she had a hard fall some years ago. She went to the Emergency Room but they sent her home without taking any tests. I;m thinking the fall could have brought this on. Does anyone else have an experience of this happening after a fall even years later?

A fellow caregiver answered...

If they can't remember the day/month/year, "lose" keys that are in their pocket, can't remember your spouse's name, but have instant recall of their childhood, it's likely dementia. At some point this can worsen to where they get lost outside or have hallucinations that strangers have stolen things from the house. Check for any chronic problems such as a persistent cough that might be a symptom of reduced oxygen levels.